With the proposed pre-poll alliance between CPM-led leftists and Congress falling apart, the Congress may fight in all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, alone. The Congress’s decision to contest alone in the state came after the failure of the seat-sharing arrangement with the Left Front.
Political observers suggest that the emerging scenario will result in the direct fight between BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
There had been a few initial hiccups in the seat-sharing talks which had been going on for the last several months. According to reports, the confusion was mainly regarding two specific seats, Raiganj and Murshidabad, which both the CPM and Congress wanted to contest.
Earlier, it was reported that the Left Front would contest 25 of the 42 seats but the Congress had objected to this. Despite prevailing confusion and objections, the Left Front went so far as to announce its list of 25 probable candidates. It has worsened the situation further.
Even though Left’s hopes of allying with the Congress bit the dust, the bonhomie between the two parties has left room for a grass-roots level ‘adjustments’ and tacit alliances to check the surge of BJP.
The ten seats that will go to polls are Cooch Behar and Alipurduar in the first phase; Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raigunj in the second phase and Balughat, Malda Uttar, Malda Dakshin, Murshidabad and Jangipur in the third phase.
BJP has emerged as a major political power in the state in the last Lok Sabha elections with registering a record vote share of 17 per cent. The party has increased its vote share in every by-poll it contested since the 2016 assembly elections. The predicted four-corner contests have enhanced the confidence of the BJP state leadership, and the party is likely to become the lone beneficiary of the emerging scenario.